English manager Gareth Southgate said that the Football Association “tried to make the best decision with good intentions” when it came to memorials for people who died in Israel and Gaza.
The England vs. Australia match on Friday will have a moment of silence and players will wear black armbands to honor “the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine.”
The FA has decided not to put Israeli flag colors on the Wembley arch.
That choice was “disappointing” to Lucy Frazer, who is secretary of state for culture, media, and sport.
In a string of strikes last week, the Palestinian militant group Hamas killed more than 1,200 people in Israel.
Then Israel attacked Gaza from the air, and people in the area have had trouble getting food, water, fuel, and medicine.
During those strikes, more than 1,300 people were killed in Gaza, and 338,000 were forced to leave their homes.
On Thursday morning, before Southgate’s speech, the FA said in a statement, “We stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear, and suffering.”
It also said that only “flags, replica kits, and other representations of nationality for competing nations” would be allowed inside Wembley for the game against Australia and the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy on Tuesday.
The message didn’t say anything about the Wembley arch.
BBC Sport reported on Wednesday that the governing body was afraid of what would happen if they lit up the arch in the colors of the Israeli flag.
It was thought that top FA officials didn’t want to give the impression that they were taking sides in the strife in the Middle East.
Frazer, a minister in the government, said that the FA’s choice not to light up the arch on X (formerly known as Twitter) was disappointing because the FA had taken a strong stance against other terrorist attacks recently. What you say and do matters. It’s clear from the government that they support Israel.
After Russia attacked Ukraine last year, the FA lit up Wembley’s arch in the blue and yellow colors of the flag to show support for the country.
In 2015, the arch was lit up in the colors of the French tricolor to remember the people who died in the Paris attacks. In 2016, the arch was lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag to remember the people who died in the Brussels bombs.
This weekend, players, coaches, and match officials in the English Football League will wear black armbands. The next round of Premier League games will be from October 21st to 23rd, and there will also be a moment of silence.
The EFL and the Premier League are both giving money to the British Red Cross to help people who need it right away.
The Women’s Super League said it would “remember the innocent victims of the terrible events in Israel and Palestine” and asked clubs to wear black armbands and hold a moment of silence at this weekend’s games.